Prohormone 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione: effective but not without risk

Things are getting out of hand with designer steroids write endocrinologists at the University of Tennessee in Andrology. They are full anabolic steroids, but designer steroids are marketed as ‘supplements’. One of the designer steroids that the doctors are concerned about is 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione. And if you know anything about 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione, then you know that endocrinologists are indeed likely to encounter men who’ve used the stuff in the near future.

Designer steroids

Cyrus Rahnema and his colleagues made an inventory of the designer steroids in circulation in 2014 for their article. The results are shown below. The designer steroids with an asterisk are on the WADA doping list; others are not yet on the list.


This the first time that we’ve written about 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione – also known as 7-alpha-methyl-19-norandrostenedione. We have written before about Mibolerone, or 7-alpha,17-alpha-dimethyl-estra-4-en-3-one, an anabolic steroid produced in the late 1960s that was very toxic for the liver and very androgenic.

The figure below is from Julius Vida’s steroids bible Androgens and Anabolic Agents: Chemistry and Pharmacology. He compares the effect of Mibolerone on the prostate [VP], the seminal vesicles [SV] and the muscles [LA] with that of testosterone and methyltestosterone.

The stronger the effect of an anabolic steroid on the prostate and seminal vesicles, the stronger the androgenic side effects. Effects include loss of head hair, increases in body hair, greasy skin and aggression.

As you can see, Mibolerone is a killer steroid with lots of masculinising side effects.


7-Alpha-Methyl-Estra-4-en-3,17-Dione is not a problem for the liver, as it doesn’t contain the 17-alpha methyl group that was responsible for Mibolerone’s hepatotoxic effect.

7-Alpha-Methyl-Estra-4-en-3,17-Dione is the prohormone version of 7-alpha-methyl-nandrolone, also known as MENT. MENT is a powerful anabolic steroid, which in the 1990s scientists had pinned their hopes on in their attempts to develop a male contraceptive.

The figure below is also from Vida’s book, and shows that MENT also has a powerful muscle-building effect, but is less damaging to the seminal vesicles than Mibolerone.


And lastly below you see the structural formula and effect of 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione. Also from Vida’s book. Vida by the way got his information from a 1963 publication by Albert Segaloff. [Steroids Volume 1, Issue 3, March 1963, Pages 299–315.]

The first steroid shown below is nor-androstenedione, which converts into nandrolone in the body. In the late 1990s it was a fairly popular prohormone, although in retrospect it was not particularly effective.


The second steroid shown in the figure above is 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione, the active ingredient in products such as Mentabolan or Trestione. Its muscle strengthening effect exceeds that of nor-androstenedione by a factor of 26.

7-Alpha-Methyl-Estra-4-en-3,17-Dione is a full-blown anabolic steroid. There are posts on forums from bodybuilders who say that using 30 mg a day of 7-alpha-methyl-estra-4-en-3,17-dione for a month – longer than that is too risky – helped them build a couple of kilos of hard muscle mass. [ Sep 11 2011]

7-Alpha-Methyl-Estra-4-en-3,17-Dione is unlikely to cause liver damage; the likelihood of gyno effects is probably bigger. But the biggest risk may be the body’s own synthesis of testosterone and sperm is suppressed in the long run. It’s not without reason that scientists studied MENT for so long as a male contraceptive candidate…

Designer steroids – over-the-counter supplements and their androgenic component: review of an increasing problem.


Colloquially referred to by various misleading monikers (‘pro-hormones’, ‘natural steroids’, ‘testosterone boosters’, etc.) designer anabolic steroids have been popular now for over a decade as a way to achieve classic anabolic steroid-like results from products sold in the legal marketplace. Recent evidence suggests that anabolic steroid use may be the most common cause of hypogonadism in men of reproductive age. Despite recent regulatory efforts that have banned specific compounds, many anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) remain available in over-the-counter dietary supplements that are legally sold in the United States. Severe side effects including hepatotoxicity, cholestasis, renal failure, hypogonadism, gynecomastia, and infertility have been reported secondary to the use of these products. While some of these side effects may be reversible, more aggressive use may result in more permanent end-organ damage as has been previously described for the case of aggressive AAS users (Rahnema et al., Fertil Steril, 2014). Designer AAS remain easily available for purchase in over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements and these products appear to be increasingly popular, despite the known health risks associated with their use. We conducted a systematic search to identify the designer steroids that are most commonly sold in dietary supplements as of April 2014 and review what is known regarding their potency and toxicity. We propose that the impact of AAS use on the reproductive and hormonal health of men is underestimated in the literature owing to previous studies’ failure to account for designer steroid use. Lastly, we make clinical recommendations to help physicians steer patients away from potentially harmful supplements, and summarize key regulatory obstacles that have allowed potent androgens to remain unregulated in the legal marketplace.

PMID: 25684733 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]